LGBT Month is winding down whilst the hype around homosexual BFI film festival Flare is hotting up. The film festival will kick off on the 20th of March, showcasing some of the greatest films of homosexuality, trans and more. Last week, writer Hayley picked her top ten gay movies films that you need to watch, looking at the beautiful relationships between man and man. This week, she turns to Lesbian movies and looks at love between woman and woman.
This three hour lesbian epic is one of the most honest, believable portrayals of a relationship's beginning and it's demise, regardless of sexuality. Much has been made of the extended sex scene, but that is actually the least remarkable aspect of the film. The dynamic performances from Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux, and their wonderful chemistry, makes for a beautifully realised film.
One of Emily Blunt's earliest roles sees her play Tamsin, the beautiful, alluring summer romance of our protagonist, Natalie Press’ tomboy Mona. Once again, the chemistry between the two girls is wonderful, accompanied by stunning scenery and a predictably excellent supporting turn from Paddy Considine. Director Pawel Pawlikowski delivers a sublime film that makes what is a very detailed cinematic experience look effortless.
Proof that teen romantic comedies work with LGBT leads, this is the hilarious and heartstrings story of a closeted lesbian high school cheerleader being sent to an ex-gay camp. Rather than succumbing to brainwashing, she discovers her real identity and finds love with another campsite. Orange is the New Black star Natasha Lyonne is our heroine, with Clea DuVall mesmerizing as her love interest. But it is RuPaul who steals every scene as an ex-gay camp counsellor.
The Hours is notable for many reasons, not just Nicole Kidman's Oscar winning fake nose. It is a story that connects three women across different time periods and societal attitudes to sexuality. Kidman gives a powerhouse performance as troubled bisexual Virginia Woolf, backed admirably by the always reliable Julianne Moore as a 50's housewife, and modern day Meryl Streep as a woman apparently living the story of Mrs Dalloway. Given Woolf's sexuality, some could argue this film belongs in the bisexual category, but it is the treatment of relationships between women that is the most striking, and well-realized.
The debut film of the Wachowskis is a thrilling lesbian crime drama starring Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly. Gershon’s criminal Corky plans to steal millions of mob money along with her lover Violet (Tilly), pinning it all on Violet’s boyfriend Caesar.The film is stylish, sexy, and intelligent. Every event in this film is interconnected, displaying an early filmmaking skill that the Wachowski’s would perfect later with The Matrix. As our leads, Tilly and Gershon are an exciting watch with great chemistry, while the downward spiral of Joe Pantoliano’s Caesar is gripping. Containing numerous sex scenes and disturbing violence, Bound isn’t for everyone, but it is fascinating viewing.
So much was made of Charlize Theron’s physical transformation into lesbian killer Aileen Wuornos (with some claiming that this was the only reason for her Oscar) that very few actually take note of her performance. Theron could remain her ordinary, gorgeous self and still be utterly chilling as the Wuornos. But she is not without personality and heart. Her love for girlfriend Selby (Christina Ricci) redeems her somewhat, and the events that led to her becoming a serial killer are fully explored, such as her traumatic childhood and experiences as a prostitute. Theron makes Wuornos so real (fitting, given it’s a true story) that viewers eventually begin sympathising with her, despite her evil actions.
The film that launched Kate Winslet's career is another true story of lesbian murder. Perhaps not the most positive stereotype to display, but it is a thrilling film nonetheless. Directed by Peter Jackson, Heavenly Creatures is the tale of two intensely close teenage girls who, when their parents decide they are too close, take revenge. The real life case was shocking, but Jackson deftly emphasizes the emotional centre of the story and proves what a great director he'd eventually become.
Starring Naomi Watts, David Lynch's classic is as bizarre as his other famous works, but ultimately gripping. The lesbian element comes from the relationship between Watts' actress lead Diane, and Camilla, played by Laura Harring. The film utilises fantasy elements to explore the psyche of a troubled woman, while the intimate moments are just as sexy as they are weird.
Not be be confused with the 2012 documentary of the same name, Saving Face is the story of sexuality vs cultural expectations. It is the story of a Chinese American lesbian and her traditionalist mother, both of whom are hiding secret loves due to the expectations of their heritage. First time director Annie Wu helms a beautiful story of love and tradition, with the Chinese American protagonists presented honestly and free from stereotype.
All Over Me is a vibrant, exciting look at 90s subculture in New York, full of drugs, music...and homophobia. Alison Folland and Tara Subkoff shine as the leads in this indie exploration of youth rebellion, torn friendships, and discovering sexuality. The soundtrack is also a treat, perfectly capturing the era and atmosphere of 90s New York.